Research is catching up to what most of us have known for a long time: we feel better when we spend time in nature. Scientifically-backed reasons to spend time in nature bring us an impressive list:
Evidence shows spending time in nature, specifically where water is present for even greater effects, brings improved self-esteem and mood.
Walking in nature can improve short-term memory by as much as 20%.
Spending time in nature, which the researchers considered “natural aromatherapy,” helped improve immune response.
Walking through a forest reduces stress.
Spending a few days in a forest reduces inflammation and stress.
Nature has restorative benefits that helps us reduce or eliminate mental fatigue.
Outdoor activity can reduce the occurrence of myopia (nearsightedness) in children.
Walking outside helps concentration.
Exposure to nature can help restore higher mental processes such as attention, problem solving, inhibition and multi-tasking.
Spending time in nature has a correlation with longer life.
So, if spending time in nature is so incredibly good for our mental and physical health, let’s talk about some ways we can enhance our nature time by making a few tweaks and being more intentional about gifting our souls the nature-time we crave.
Walk whenever possible, instead of driving.
Plan time in your calendar to treat yourself to a beautiful forest, beach, lake or other natural vistas. Walk, breathe, notice the details around you. (Don’t bring your laptop along to get some work done, and put your phone on airplane mode if possible.)
If you have a yard or a nearby park, take a blanket and read outside and soak in the fresh air.
If you have to work indoors, set up a diffuser and diffuse pure essential oils – which bring nature in to you.
Explore the parks near you; if you’re more adventurous, check out the state and/or national parks near you.
Look at the night sky – preferably away from city lights so they don’t have to compete.
Climb the biggest hill you can find.
Go on a hike (bring your dog if you have one!)
Do Yoga outside.
Walk barefoot outside – there’s something about feeling grass or sand between your toes…
Watch the sunrise and/or the sunset
Admire the moon.
Hang out in a hammock.
Go boating – oh the breeze!
Enjoy a cookout.
Don’t forget awesome winter sports (although they are now two seasons away for many of us)
Watch or participate in outdoor sporting events.
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Qing Li. 2010. Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environ Health Prev Med., 15(1): 9-17
Miyazaki, Y., Lee, J., Park, BJ., Tsunestsugu Y., Matsunaga, K. 2011. Preventive medical effects of nature therapy. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi 66(4):651-6.
Mao, GX., Lan, XG., Cao, YB., Chen, ZM., He, ZH., Lv, YD., Wang, YZ., Hu, XL., Wang, GF., Yan, J. 2012. Effects of short-term forst bathing on human health in a broad-leaved evergreen forest in Zhejiang Province, China. Biomed Environ Sci., 25(3):317-24.
Kaplan, S., 1995. The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 15(3):169-182
Rose, KA., Morgan, IG., Ip, J., Huynh, S., Smith, W., Mitchell, P. 2008. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Opthalmology. 115(8):127
Taylor, A., Frances, EK. 2009. Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park. Journal of Attention Disorders. 12(5):402-409.
Atchley, RA., Strayer, DL., Atchley, P. 2012. Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings. PLoS ONE. 7(12: e51474
Maas J, Verheij RA, de Vries S, et al. 2009.Morbidity is related to a green living environment. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 63:967-973.